tv Charlie Rose PBS August 16, 2013 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT
>> rose: welcome to the program. tonight, larry ellison, the founder of oracle, said to be the third-richest person in the united states with a fortune of more than $43 billion. a very close friend of the late steve jobs and a man who is defending the america's cup. i met with him last week at his home in woodside, california. >> america's cup wasn't racing the fast pest boats and we decided that the americas cup to capture the imagination of the modern world and children who can watch all of these other sports and participate, we had to modernize it, we had to make it exciting and extreme. >> rose: is there a cost of that have? >> i don't -- well, i think some people whoist withfully look back to the blue blazers and the brass buttons and the cute little ties with, you know, they'll miss the traditions of
captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> rose: larry ellison is the founder and c.e.o. of oracle, the third-richest man of the united states said to be worth $43 billion. he's also the sponsor and manager of oracle team u.s.a., the american sailing name the 2013america's cup competition. next month in san francisco oracle team u.s.a. will defend the trophy at it wop in 2010. thanks to new rules ellison pioneered this year's boats will be faster and more expensive than any craft in the race's 162-year-old history. last week on assignment for cbs "this morning" i spoke with ellison at his home south of san francisco. we talked about his team, his philosophy and his friendship with the late steve jobs. here is that conversation.
i ought to say as we begin, for inviting us to this remarkable place. >> welcome back, charlie, it's great to see you again. >> rose: someone said to me -- i asked them to describe you and they said "larry likes to win." >> i think -- i do. i do like to win. let me say i like to compete. and i like to discover my own limits. i like to test my own limits. sometimes i like to test the limits of technology. but i enjoy the competition. i enjoy, if you will, the fight. and if you enjoy the fight and work national guard the fight you'll win a fair share of the fights. >> rose: so what is winning the america's cup mean? >> well, i'm not going to answer that we question because someone asked me what does it mean -- is
it worth $100 million to win the america's cup and i said i don't know, i've never won. then in 2010 we built this amaze magazine, this trimaran with the 23 story tall wing mast and we won the america's cup. team u.s.a. won the america's cup for the first time. and it was the end of a very long quest that had become a bit of an obsession. >> rose: why? >> it's an interesting question. i thought i -- i thought that i could put a team together -- it's a combination of technology and athletes. it's the blending of great technology and great athletes and i thought i could do this as well as anybody. i've been very successful as a sailor myself. i've been very successful as an amateur sailor. very successful as a professional sailor and the next step, the next natural step in the evolution of competition and sailing is the america's cup. >> rose: so this is more than some very wealthy billionaire
saying "i'm going to go out and buy the best boat and the best talent and then i'll win for myself and america's cup"? >> well, the first america's cup we did in new zealand ended up driving the boat a lot of the time and -- well, we lost. (laughs) i shared the driving with peter holmberg and we weren't doing very well and i pulled myself off the boat, brought back, peter did all the driving, we brought back a tactician, it's long story. but we ended up losing in the final of the louis vuitton cup this team from switzerland skippered by the world's greatest sailor, russell coates. and i just should have known better. >> rose: so you'll pull larry ellison off the boat if it means winning the america's cup for larry ellison? >> absolutely. i want to be part of a winning
team and if it helps a team for win to me to get off the boat i want to get off the boat. >> rose: these new boats, is they're not without criticism. why is it necessary? some people say "it's not the america's cup. we've gone too far." >> people critized professional athletes going into the olympics. people don't like change. there was the corinthian spirit of athletics where professionals were looked down upon, only amateurs were allowed to compete. professional tennis players were banned from wimbledon. a lot of people didn't like the new metal racket where you can hit the ball harder. a bunch of people don't like the olympics now because we've added skateboarding and -- >> rose: well, it's different. this is not a modification, this is a draw dramatic change. >> well, i would say that
snowboarding is a dramatic change in addition to the olympics. we're modernizing the sport. so it used to be -- i sailed a boat called "sayonara" that i raced around the world that could have killed the america's cup champion. the america's cup -- they weren't racing the fastest boats. and we decided that the america's cup to capture the imagination of the modern world and children who can watch all these other sports, we had to modernize it, we had to make it extreme. >> rose: is there a cost of that? >> i don't -- well, i think some people whoist withfully look back to the blue blazers and the brass buttons and the cut little ties with the flags on it, they'll miss the traditions of the america's cup which goes back to 1851. it's the oldest trophy in sports. >> rose: what do you say the new tradition of the america's cup is? >> fastest boats, the best
sailors. so we have the best professional sailors who are incredibly fit driving these unbelievably fast boats to their limits. so it's the limit to what technology allows in 21st century sailing. >> rose: let me go back to the original question. you have won the america's cup. you don't need to win it twice. >> (laughs) >> rose: (laughs) so what is it within larry ellison who said "man, i won it once, i want the fastest boat, the best sailors and i want to win it again and maybe again"? >> well -- it's funny, because i realized after losing the america's cup twice i was just -- my personality didn't allow me to quit while i'm losing. and after winning the america's cup i discovered my personality doesn't want me to quit while i'm winning! (laughs) >> rose: (laughs) >> so i'm kind of trapped! i just can't quit. i don't know.
i guess other people have that trouble with cigarettes. i don't smoke but i do sail. >> rose: but if you win this time will that be enough? >> well, it's not a matter of person satisfaction right now. it's a matter of we represent our country, this is team u.s.a. we're going to be competing defending the america's cup in the united states and we have a bunch of guys who committed the last several years of their lives to designing these boats, building these boats, making these boats sail as fast as they possibly can and i certainly owe it to them to give it 100% effort, to do whatever i can to help the people win. >> rose: why do you think san francisco is such a great place for racing? >> it's just so beautiful. >> rose: that it? the beauty rather than the winds? >> we do have consistent winds. we have wonderful consistent winds. you can rely on the wind coming in about 1:00 every afternoon and getting good breeze and
having sailboat races. one of the problems with sailing and televising sailing -- by the way, this is the other thing. we have to make the sport spectacular, we have to make it spectacular on t.v. because there's only so much so many people that will watch this race. more people will watch this america's cup race than all of the america's cup races in history because all the america's cup races in history have been offshore. this one is in a harbor. so we have people from office buildings and their homes from the shore watching the race as it goes on. so it's accessible. but even more important it's accessible on t.v. because it's now spectacular graphics that help non-sailors understand what's going out on the water. >> rose: there's this: some people say you want to make it nascar on water. >> (laughs) >> rose: and people go to nascar to see the crashes. they do. >> i'm going to get in trouble. i'm not a nascar fan or a formula 1 fan.
i think this is better. and we don't want to see anybody get hurt. it is certainly true that when russell coots flipped the a.c.-45 a couple of years ago no one would talk to us until then. none of the networks would talk to us until there was this fabulous youtube video of the a.c.-45 and russell coots our c.e.o. and the world's most decorated sailor falling through the wing and fortunately he was not hurt. but all of a sudden all of the networks wanted to broadcast. >> rose: so you were saying once it became this fast with this boat it became dangerous and that made it more attractive? >> i think we like the illusion of danger, not real danger. >> rose: it's not illusion, though. >> well, these boats -- they've -- in portsmouth we had six or seven of them flip over and we had no nobody seriously hurt ever in the 45s. the accident that we had on the
swedish boat was a freak accident. there was a structural failure on the boat. the two holes are held together by cross beams and where the cross beam attached to the hull, those bolts sheared and the boat went from a rectangular boat and to a triangular boat and bart simpson was trapped between the two hulls and we couldn't find him for seven minutes so we had divers in the water 30 seconds after that boat flipped over. >> i'm told the death of simpson really had an impact on you. >> oh, yeah. we decided to make this an extreme sport, to make it exciting. we certainly never intended anyone to be hurt. the sailing community is a very small community. it's a small world. there aren't that many people that do this. like professional tennis, everybody knows anybody and when you lose one of your in, it's -- you know, it's something you never, ever forget.
>> rose: did you for a moment say "we've gone too far"? >> i thought about it. i thought about it. but no, i think we've made the right decision. i think to make this sport an economically viable sport we have to have fast, modern boats. it has to be a popular t.v. sport. it has to be attractive to kids. >> rose: and it has to be risky? >> it has to look a bit risky. it has to be a little risky. this is extreme sailing and these are highly skilled professionals who are superb athletes. we had all the guys carry oxygen. >> rose: since simpson's death? >> they carried oxygen before simpson's death. we carry knives. we wear helmets, we wear body armor so we can cut ourself free if we're trapped below. we've taken we think, every
precaution, this was just absolutely a freak accident that caused the loss of bart simpson and none of us will forget it. >> rose: you have faced death before. that day, on that boat you thought -- you survived but there were moments in which you didn't think you were going to survive. or not? >> well, i wouldn't say i didn't think i was going to survive. i certainly thought we might die and i said "what the a stupid way to die. who in their right mind flies to australia for a race on december 26 when their family is in the caribbean on the beach? i'm on a sailboat sailing south." >> rose: in a storm. >> in a hurricane. and i ended up spending two days in a hurricane. >> rose: what was that like? >> well, we had a couple of guys on the boat who had been in vietnam and they said -- one guy turned to me and said "you want to know what combat is like? this is what combat is like. can you taste the adrenaline in
your mouth in? do you notice you're not blinks? do you notice you never get tired? notice how everything slows down? notice how if you're hurt you don't care or even notice?" it is -- you're in an altered state. there's no fear. there's -- i wouldn't call it calmness. there's an intense focus on doing your job. >> rose: and how much did you like this? >> i didn't like it at all. i didn't dislike it. i didn't have any -- there's no kind of -- all i did was -- when i was driving. when i was on deck and when i was driving all i did was focus on my job. when i went below to try to rest and thought thought about it i thought boy, this is a stupid way to spend your christmas new year's holiday. sailing in a hurricane is not something i ever want to do again. >> rose: why are there only four boats entered here?
>> i think a couple things. the boats are brand new. in the mooup a lot of the teams are on strict budgets and what they do is buy used boats from the previous america's cup campaign. so there was no inexpensive way to get into the this america's cup. so these boats are more expensive than we realized when we designed the class rule, these 72 footers. they're pretty expensive to build and transport around the world. the world economy -- when we started the america's cup was really in the tank so the combination of these boats are, i think, too expensive and the fact that the world economy is just coming -- >> rose: did that do some damage to the sport? it's gotten to the point where only a very few people can compete? >> well, i think we're going to look at a it next time around and make sure that -- two things will be true next time around. one, there will be used boats on the market if we go back to 72s, or we might conduct the next
america's cup in 45-foot catamarans. also very extreme foiling, fly cat ma rance. we think it would be a spectacular event in 45s and i think it's very important to have more countries participating. we want the chinese. we want the japanese. we want the french and the germans. we want the brits. we want the south africans. >> rose: what do you have to do to get them? >> we have to control the budget. we have to make it economically -- >> rose: so you can't by your way to the america's cup? >> so there's no big economic barrier to keep other countries out. >> rose: so should you change the side size of the boat? >> we're looking of going to 45s. >> rose: do you believe that's the way to go? >> i'm leaning that way and so is russell coots. >> rose: why are both of you leaning that way? >> because we want more countries to participate and lower the economic barriers. >> rose: is it safer or less safe? >> i think the 45s are considerably safer.
>> rose: exactly. that may be a factor, too. >> it's all factors. we flip the 45s a lot. the 45 is an extreme sport. people aren't going to get killed on those things. the 72s, there's much more potential for someone being hurt. >> rose: what's the difference between running oracle and running an america's cup challenge? >> i think they're kind of 2 t same thing different skill. >> rose: skills are the same? >> hire great people, you have to hire great engineers, because the design of the boat can make all the difference. these boats are not identical so you can get significant advantages in the race by designing a lighter faster boat, a foiling boat with more lift and less drag. so you have to have great engineers, you have to have great athletes, you have to have great managers, leaders, great marketing. you have to design the boat, make it beautiful. in this case we had -- i tone
company that has done all of the technology for the t.v. broadcasts. >> rose: back to racing, grant dell on the said this is yachting, not formula one, and with all of the will of oracle, he said, it is not nascar. >> well, it interesting that he said this is yachting not formula 1. i don't even know what that means. yachting. what is yachting? this is professional racing. we have sponsors, the sponsors want as many people to see these boats in action as possible. we're competing with other sports to get kids' attention and we want -- we've got to make our sport exciting and we've got to modernize it. it can't be unchanged since 1851. >> rose: what is it about larry ellison that made oracle what it is?
>> i think the thing that caused problemings for me in school are the same things that help med succeed in the world. i always question conventional wisdom. so just because someone says it's so doesn't mean it's so. they have to explain why it's so. mark twain has a great line. "what's an expert?" "just some guy from out of town." >> rose: (laughs) >> so people said "he doesn't respect authority." i respect ideas and arguments and reasoning and facts. but just because someone says, you know, this is true doesn't mean it's true. you have to be able to explain it. so when i started -- so i would question teachers in school. i just didn't shut up and do what you're told. i wasn't very good at shutting up and doing what you're told. and i think that creates problems in grammar school and high school.
however, in the technology world if you can find errors in conventional wisdom, if you can -- if everyone says this is true that relational databases can never run as fast as come vengs commercial databases, that's what the conventional wisdom and i studied the papers from i.b.m. and others and studied relational calculus and relational algebra and decided conventional wisdom was wrong, you could build a system that rabb at least as fast as the current commercial systems from i.b.m. and we went out and built it and it did run as fast and turned out that was worth a lot of money. >> rose: your father was a conformist. he conformed. >> my father was an immigrant from russia and was so intensely grateful that -- to be here, and certainly understandable, that he thought that whatever the government said you should do because the government just knew things we didn't.
>> rose: you have said before about your father that he thought me what he was was what i did not want to be. >> um yeah, i believe you should think before you believe. and believing before you think is a very -- is not a -- it might be fine for some things, to do what you're told. in the military, i mean, that's -- you have to do that, i think, to some degree. so there are some institutions where they really drill that into you. >> rose: you can't have 100 people doing what they think. >> no. >> rose: i think you said once "i've had all the disadvantages required for success." >> i stole that from tim rice. it comes from "evita." she had all the disadvantages she needed to succeed. i love tim rice, i think he'll brilliant. but, yeah, no, i have another line "if it doesn't kill you, it makes you stronger." so i think i was told so often i wouldn't amount to anything that i was very determined to -- >> rose: amount to something.
>> -- to amount to something. exactly. (laughs) or die trying. >> rose: have you mellowed at all? some say you have. some say he's not as angry, not as -- >> yeah, i think that's right. i think the rough edges have come off. so i joke about it. my nature much more and i take myself less seriously. again, i'm not angry. but i think i'm as competitive as i ever was. i think it's just a -- you know, a nice -- (laughs) >> rose: (laughs) >> a certain veneer of charm in front of the same intensity. (laughs) >> rose: a veneer of charm is hard? >> a veneer of charm took a long time! >> rose: you believe the cloud is -- what do you believe, is the question? >> well, i'm -- i was very critical of the term "cloud"
when it first showed up and then suddenly something mark at salesforce.com and net suite had been doing for 11 years was brand new. it was like how can this be? in fact, the first modern cloud company was invented by guess who? me? net suite was the first modern cloud company. it was the year before salesforce.com. but we didn't call it cloud, we called it software as a service and mark called it software as a service and then later on ten years later, five years ago, let's say, five years ago this new term, this new thing came out and -- called the -- e.c. 2. amazon elastic compute cloud. and the word cloud is just a cool term. and all of a sudden this very charismatic term "cloud" which is applied to amazon, mark said "ah-ha!
us, too! we're also clouds." and net suite said "we're cloud." now each is going to -- all those born-again cloud companies. >> rose: it's a big element of the future? >> there's no doubt that, you know, the business model of rather than you buying a computer and you buying software instead you rent -- you buy a service on the internet is kind of a utility model of computing. that's how you buy electricity. you don't have your own generator. you don't put gas into a gasoline engine and generate your own electricity in your house. you plug into a network. a utility model and you get a monthly bill. so cloud computing is really using the internet to deliver services as a utility model and suddenly basically computing is adopting the same model as all other networks. so we buy water from the water utility and we pay based on how much we use. we buy electricity based on
electricity utility. and now there's this extraordinary new idea called the cloud! we buy computing and output software and hardware and you pay based on how much you use. it's basically the same -- it's really computing catching up to the same exact model as every other network. but everyone said "oh, my god, it's the cloud." great, you want to use that term for utility computing i'm all for it. if that's what you insist on doing. but to claim it's this incredibly new thing and you're either cloud or not cloud, the hype around it just drove me crazy. >> rose: what have you missd? did you miss -- could you have been a bigger force in other aspects if you had spoken beyond and focused on things beyond the obvious growth of oracle? >> well, i think -- i know
people have said "god, larry ellison missed the cloud." >> rose: exactly. >> i can pretty persuasively tell you that i invented the cloud. i invented the network computer. steve jobs made it popular. well, at least i popularize it had idea, we never came up with a good product. but certainly the first modern cloud company i started and it's called net suite. oracle started moving all of its applications to the cloud over eight years ago and this is a project called fusion applications. so not only did we not miss the cloud, ever since the internetanyahu big we us to we have focused all ofous technology onen the internet and our slogan used to be "the internet changes everything." and we talked about the utility model for a long time. now, because i ridiculed the use of the term "cloud" people have jumped on to that and said "gee,
larry ellison, he's an idiot. he doesn't get the cloud." >> rose: when they talk now, they talk about -- the big race out here is between the four horsemen, they say: google, amazon, apple, facebook. do you think that's accurate? >> well, these are all consumer oriented companies. so we're thrilled to not be in any of those businesses. so we don't compete with any of those guys. so the consumer -- the consumer guys sell web services -- google maps, they sell cool devices, iphones -- by the way, i would say much bigger in devices, you left out the most forbidable of all companies, samsung. samsung is an extraordinary company and to be reckoned with. >> rose: clearly to be reckoned
with when you look at the record and the amount of revenue that they're churning. >> it's maybe the number one technology company in the world. >> rose: do you admire them for their tactics? >> rose: these guys? >> rose: yeah. >> well, google took the job of programming language and put it into the android phone. they cloned -- basically they cloned it. which we think -- which we sued them for. and the jury actually found they did infringe on our copyrights and the judge said that that doesn't matter because you're not allowed to copyright that stuff. now it's going up to appeal. so, no, i think what google did was unethical and actually dangerous to take our intellectual property java and make a copy of it and put in the their phone. >> rose: has anything samsung done been unethical in your judgment? >> no. >> rose: so they're a good citizen? >> the only people i have trouble with are the google
guys. >> rose: really? larry and sergei you have trouble with? >> i -- larry specifically. >> rose: larry per say in >> yeah, larry per se. >> rose: why? >> because he runs that company. no one else runs that company. and they decided -- let me be very clear. when you program, when you write a program for the android phone, you write it, you use the oracle java tools for everything. >> rose: so you think they're evil? >> i think what they did was absolutely -- >> rose: and you blame larry snaij >> 100% larry paige. >> rose: so what they did is evil that makes larry paige evil? >> it makes what he did evil which is quite different. and i know his slogan is "don't be evil." >> rose: exactly, and that's what i'm talking about. >> he slipped up this one time. >> rose: he's add a good guy except when he -- >> i -- this really bothers me. i don't see how he thinks you can just copy someone else's
stuff. it really bothers me. >> rose: let's talk about steve jobs. >> yeah, my best friend for 25 years. >> rose: you talk about in the book "the billionaire and the mechanic" and also you were there. i mean, steve obviously knew he was dying and he knew who he wanted to speak and he thought about dying. johnny spoke, family spoke, and you spoke. am i missing somebody? >> no. >> rose: and what did you want to say about your friend? >> well, i wanted to -- i want to talk about my friendship with steve, what it was like and a little bit about what steve was really like because i think -- i think the biographys that have been written, they don't really capture what drove him. >> rose: including walter isaacsons? >> especially walter isaacson. i think walter isaacson didn't like steve and just had a
problem admitting to his essential genius and giving him credit for doing what he did. he didn't like what steve gave up in order to do what he did. steve gave up -- steve was so single mindedly focused on apple and building things. building extraordinary thing that he neglected other aspects of his life. but we all benefited. >> rose: like what? >> oh, i was his best friend. he didn't have lots of friends. he didn't have a very active social life. he adored his family. but there was his family, his children and his wife lorraine and then there was apple which is the -- which was his big family. and he was completely committed to making apple the most
successful company on the planet earth. >> rose: and he did. >> and he sure did. and he was interested in taking a lever and moving the world. and he did. >> rose: so tell me about it. what is it about him? we recognize the fact that he loved apple, he wanted to make apple great and he did. but what was it about him that enabled them to do it other than he worked hard? >> he was brilliant. he was our edison. he was our picasso. he was incredible inventor. he could take other people's idea -- henry ford didn't invent the car but henry ford with the model t made the first affordable car that everyone loved. and everyone -- lots of people bought. he really revolutionized the industry. >> rose: you could have it in any color you like as long as it was black. >> as long as it was black. and he was obsessed in the same
sense that ford with the model he was obsessed about making an mp3 player easy to use and affordable and the first product -- >> rose: something you should have thought sony would do. >> absolutely. but it was the software component of the mp3 player that apple -- and the beautiful design that they did. so the first ipods came not from sony but from apple. steve also decided, rather brilliantly, why should i compete with microsoft and bang my head against the wall when i can compete with sony instead? we'd go on these long walks and he'd say "who do you want to compete with? microsoft or sony? i'll take sony every day of the week because i'm a software company and sony was not." sony was a hardware company. you can kill a hardware company because most "hardware products" like an ipod, certainly an iphone are 95% software.
>> rose: but bill gates believed the same thing. >> rose: steve had a wonderful aesthetic sense -- he was a rare person. he was a brilliant design engineer. he was obsessive about every little detail of the product. he was absolutely obsessed. i can recall oracle did checkout software in the apple stores and we would go to -- he and i would go up there every weekend. it drove me nuts. >> rose: this is when he was developing the apple stores. >> and everyone said stores were ridiculous, dell was the hot company. everyone knew you sold on the internet, bricks and mortar was stupid. that was 20th century, this was 21st century, steve's dead. so steve's building stores and he wanted to make the store -- the experience in the store very very different. the checkout experience, how you pay for things, bought things, what the store looked like.
and he was involved in every excruciating detail of the entire store experience with the store. looked like and how you pay for it. he was involved in every design detail. johnny odd is a great designer but steve edited -- >> rose: but they were spiritual brothers. >> johnny will tell you, steve edited those designs and just like a good writer needs a good editor, johnny i.v. is locked as editor. >> rose: but steve would be the first to say-- just like you say-- he hired really great people. johnny ive being one of them. >> rose: he can't do it without steve. apple -- >> rose: wait, wait, wait. what happens to apple without steve? >> well, we already know. >> rose: what? >> we saw -- we conducted this experiment and it's been done. we saw apple with steve jobs, we saw apple without steve jobs. we saw apple with steve jobs. now we're going to see apple without steve jobs.
>> rose: so you're shorting apple? >> i'm not shorting apple. i like tim cook, there are a lot of talented people. >> rose: you just said apple is going down without steve jobs. that's exactly what you said. apple is going down without steve jobs. >> okay, i'll say it publicly. he's irreplaceable. i don't see how they can -- they will not be nearly so successful because he's gone. you can already feel it, he made all the decisions. he ran everything. he made every single decision. i know he loved to share the credit and that's fine, but i'm telling you, he made every single decision. i was there, i watched it. for 25 years. he made every -- he decided how you -- how you paid -- how you checked out of the apple store. he decided where things were in the apple store. he picked the colors of the original imacs.
sorry no beige was his. a thousand songs in your pocket was his. >> rose: (laughs) i hear you. >> the name "ipad, i tunes, iphone" were his. >> rose: remember when you -- when he was in at apple and then he was out at apple and you wanted to finance him to return to apple and he said no. >> yup. >> rose: and -- we were at castle rock state park which is just kind of -- over by the coast, about a 40-minute drive from here and we used to go for these long walks in castle rock and i was telling steve that i'd raise the money -- it cost $5 billion to buy apple and it was run by the a fellow by the name of gill amelio. >> rose: you could have bought it? >> i was going to buy it. >> rose: you had $5 billion? >> i was going to raise it. a combination of my own cash and raising some -- doing boor
roing. and i was going to give him 25% of the company and we'd take it private and steve would run it and steve said, "you know, larry, the i think i figured out how i can get control of apple without you having to buy it." >> rose: did he do that for you or for him? because he did not want -- he wanted the independence of not having you there? >> well, not exactly. let me be precise because i'll never forget this conversation as long as i live. i said i think i can get them to by next computer and i'll go on the board and i think board will realize i'm a better c.e.o. than gill amelio and i'll become c.e.o. i said "okay, but steve, if we don't buy apple how do we make any money with you running it? and this is when steve turned and looked at me and he placed his left hand on my right shoulder and his right hand on my left shoulder and got very
close to me and he said "larry, this is why it's so important that i'm your friend. you don't need any more money." (laughter) >> rose: sounds like something david geffen would say. >> he says that all the time. and i started to wine. i said "i know i don't need anymore money but why should ned johnson at fidelity get it? why shouldn't we get it? we don't have to keep it! we could give it away. we could give it to whoever you want. we could do good things with this money." he said "no, no, larry, i don't want you to buy the company." he said "i'm not doing this for money." i think if i go back to apple i think it's a very important i have the moral high ground moral high ground? that's the most expensive real estate on the face of the earth! you're going to go back and make ned johnson richer!
(laughs) >> rose: (laughs) >> for people who don't know, ned johnson owns fidelity. there's still some money on the east coast. i'm literally wining. i'm wining. and finally, we're walking, i finally start laughing, it's so ridiculous, the whole thing. what a strange life. we've come a long way and here we are these two adopted kids lower middle-class families walking around deciding whether we should buy apple or -- (laughs) the whole thing is crazy. and finally i said steve, i'll do whatever you want know do. and i went on the board. >> rose: did you watch him die? >> close. close. was i think at the last -- >> rose: no, but you watched him
go through -- >> i saw -- you know, i'd go over there all the time the walks -- we always go for walks. we'd always go for walks and the walks just kept getting shorter until near the end we'd kind of walk around the block or maybe four blocks, something like that and you just watched him getting weaker. this was the strongest guy i knew. this was absolutely the strongest most willful person i have ever met. and after seven years the cancer even wore him out. and that was what it was. he was just tired of fighting. and he decided -- shocked lorraine, shocked everybody that the medication was going to stop. he just pulled off the meds i think on a saturday or a sunday and by the following wednesday he was gone. >> rose: i want to talk about a
political issue here. where do you come down on what n.s.a. is doing? >> well, the great thing is we live a democracy. if we don't like what n.s.a. is doing we can get rid of the government and put in a different government. i think -- actually we've been collecting this information for so long, and long before n.s.a. was collecting it. let me tell you who was collecting it: american express, visa, all of your credit card data we have -- all of your financial records. this whole issue of privacy is utterly fascinating to me. for example, we could do a much better job in the whole new area of privacy which is medical records. >> rose: right. >> if we could take our medical records and put them in a database we could then figure out what drugs worked for what people. so we take all the medical
records then all the gino mick data about the people and we put in the a database and figure out what therapies they're getting, what therapies work and don't work because there's this big database where you should take lipitor, you should take crestor. it could be very scientific. we could do a draw dramatically better job of treating people. we'd save money, reduce suffering. do we do that? no. everyone's scared to death about privacy. so we're not doing that. people are very concerned. so we just set that aside. people are very concerned that the n.s.a. gathering all this information about people and misusing it. they're supposed to be looking for terrorists. everyone once in a while it is true they probably hand off information to the d.e.a. to go after a drug kingpin. they do do that. how terrible is that?
so who's ever heard of more information being misused by the government? in what way? what example in court? who's gone to court and said well, i was arrested or they got me because the n.s.a. -- the n.s.a. somehow has misused this data. >> rose: you're saying whatever the n.s.a. doing is okay with me with? >> i think it's great. what is the problem with that. we're finding murderers, the number of assaults are down, rapes are down, crimes are being solved at a much higher rate. we're giving up privacy. let me tell you where americans voluntarily gave up all their privacy. they gave up all of their privacy -- i'm going to tell you how much i make, where i bought my car, i'll tell you what hotels i stay in, what airlines i ride, how much is my checking account, should have in my banking account, how many overdrafts. i'll give you all that information about me in exchange for a visa card.
america has given up essentially all of their -- not all of their privacy, not their medical records, but a huge amount of privacy in exchange to make shopping more convenient. so here are the hierarchy. i'm willing to give up huge amounts of privacy in order to get a credit card to make shopping more convenient. well, how much privacy are you willing to give up to save a million lives through better health care? how much privacy are you willing to give up to save a million lives or a hundred thousand lives or a thousand lives by sbe interdicting terrorism? i know of no case recently under the obama administration, under the bush administration, under the clinton administration where the n.s.a.'s databases have been abused and anyone's liberties have been curtailed. i can't name a single case. nor can the "new york times." now this is a funny confluence where we have libertarians in government on the republican side of the aisle and
progressives on the democratic side of the aisle kind of coming together to protect our liberties. but i can't think of where our liberties have been infridged, i can't think of one example. >> rose: so the way can t system is working just fine with you. >> i wish the system was working better. i wish we had caught the guys in boston and we are making the systems better and better and better. but thank god that snowden has gone to russia, a country known for its high standards of the rule of law and human rights. so i'm sure he's very comfortable with his -- >> rose: do you think he damaged our national security by what he did? >> i think -- no. i think -- >> rose: do you think he's a traitor? >> i think let's talk about bradley manning. all those wikileaks exposed the names of dissidents in countries
where it was very dangerous to be a dissent. so willy-nilly, julian assange and bradley manning as a pair caused a lot of people just to disappear, a lot of dissidents to disappear from the streets by releasing their names. did it hurt our -- so people willing to cooperate with the united states, if our stuff gets published like this, people willing to cooperate with us in the -- dissidents in iran, dissidents in ecuador, you name it, people who cooperate with us will think twice before they work of us before they think their name will suddenly show up on the internet because this data comes out. it makes it much harder for us to -- >> rose: at what point would it be alarming for you in terms of government surveillance? at what point would your red line be crossed? >> if the government used it to do political targeting. if the democrats used it to go
after republicans. if the republicans used it to go after democrats. in other words, if it became a -- if we stoppeded looking for terrorists and we started looking for people with -- on the other side of the aisle. so the second the republicans use this information to pursue their political enemies, that's a huge problem. but i know of no case of that. democrats using this information to pursue -- >> rose: that raises the other question. the chinese are hacking us like crazy. yes? >> yes, they are. >> rose: probably the red army? >> p.l.a., yes. no question. >> rose: and the government knows, that, obviously. >> yes. >> rose: some private and they know that, too. >> yup. >> rose: the object is both private company as well as the pentagon. >> absolutely. so there's no doubt that my that disco had a lot of its secrets stolen so there's a lot of -- by
the way, it happens in france. i remember when i used to travel to france, the french intelligence services would search -- >> rose: bug the hotel room. >> bug the hotel room, take my computers. i've offended people but i don't think it happens anymore but it used to. when i used to go to france they would search everything. so a lot of the intelligence services have been enlisted to do industrial espionage. i guess it's kind of -- no conventional words, just business words. >> rose: you seem like a man who has a good time with life. >> this isn't practice. (laughs) >> up with of your original partners, robert minor, died at age 52. >> right. >> rose: cancer? >> yes. >> rose: did that have an impact on you? >> it did. my mother died of cancer.
a lot of my family have died of cancer, a lot of my friends is v died of cancer. it particularly bothered me with bob because bob was so slow to get proper medical care so he chose not to seek specialists and that really bothered me. >> rose: some say steve did the same thing. >> steve ran his own agenda to a large degree. when you're a control freak, you're a control freak. >> rose: is this assumption that you are in search of the -- you'll fund every research project that you can find that's meritorious that will help us understand aging and help us live a longer fuller life. is that true? >> no. >> rose: is it a myth, then, that larry ellison is obsessed
by the fountain of youth and somehow he'll pay any amount of money to find the keys to immortality? >> you can know exactly how much i spend. i have a medical foundation that spends money on diseases of age so i do a lot of investigations on diseases of -- cancer, for example. >> rose: diabetes is a degenerative disease. heart disease. exactly. there are lots of them. so we're clearly more vulnerable to different diseases as we get older and it's amazing how little we know about the fundmental mechanisms of aging. so i have a medical foundation that does fundamental research, whether it's teal owe mears getting shorter --. >> rose: it has to do with cell structure, right sngt >> aging, it turns out, is a very complicated thing. >> rose: are we understanding more and finding more about it and if we are what result will
it lead to? >> well, i think it will lead to therapies for specific kinds of diseases. i doubt if we're going to be turning the clock back any time soon. that would be a great science fiction novel, though. can you imagine if people stopped dying? but, you know, in the foreseeable future, certainly -- the bad news is it's not going to help you or i, charlie. (laughs) >> rose: (laughs) >> maybe at some point we'll figure this out to the point where we can actually reverse aging. but that's many, many -- you know, that's a few generations away. but what we can do and what we have done started a lot of that research and we have made useful progress and better understanding a lot of these diseases. >> rose: we haven't focused much on oracle. oracle is doing okay? >> i think oracle is doing very well. >> rose: you have a great successor over there? you seem to be able to develop a successor. >> i think there are a lot of
people that can run oracle. i think mark hurd could do it. >> rose: you have just today me that steve jobs was such a genius and so driven and so talented that he was irreplaceable and that when that company lost him it lost part of its future. >> yeah. >> rose: is that true with larry ellison? >> i think we're a very different kind of company than apple. our stock has a much longer life cycle than apple. the problem with consumer products, again, these the consumer companies, you're a little bit like a rock band. okay, this cool telephone and then, you know, six months later someone got the cooler telephone and everyone starts buying that. someone has a better movie. our database has been around now for 25 years and has become the standard for 25 years in more and more of the world as information is going to into our database. so it's a -- so the technology
cycle, very, very fast for telephones. the technology cycle if the, if you will, the back office, much slower. so i think we have a wealth of talent and we have a couple of engineers, specifically one of the engineers could run the company. saffir could run the company. so i think we have three able people that could take over from what i'm doing. >> rose: thank you for doing this. pleasure to see you again in such extraordinary surroundings. >> great to see you. thanks, charlie. captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
the following kqed production was produced in high definition. ♪ ♪ ♪ every single bite needed to be great. >> twinkies in there. >> wow! >> it's like a great, big hug in the whole city. >> that food is about all i can handle. my parents put chili powder in my baby food. >> french fries everywhere, all over the table and just a lot of chili.